What if our Cities could Talk?

Published: 22, Jul 2020.

As seen on Comms2Point0, our CEO Tiernan Mines discusses how Hello Lamp Post empowers local authorities to give citizens a voice in city planning and a new way to explore cities and visitor attractions.

What if our city buildings, benches, points of interest and landmarks could come to life and talk to you? This is exactly what’s happening in towns and cities all over the world.

With the use of their phones, citizens can obtain vital information about a place by communicating with a city’s infrastructure. What if all citizens were able to engage with their city’s spaces and objects in a meaningful, friendly way that encourages real interaction, information sharing, and signposting to other community services and offerings like museums, retail, and areas of cultural interest?

By chatting to a variety of street objects, activating points of interest, visitors and citizens alike can not only learn about the history of a place, but join in with decision-making and help shape their communities through storytelling. Hello Lamp Post is making this possible via our playful platform that empowers people to connect, engage and shape their town or city by talking to street objects. There is no app to download and it can be accessed easily by any mobile device.

Hello Lamp Post encourages people to look at their city with fresh eyes. HLP gives citizens a chance to slow down, reflect and feedback to their city, empowering people to take back ownership and influence future development of their community. The system makes the planning of cities more centred around citizens’ needs and ideas, and enables the true co-creation of urban environments. Hello Lamp Post is also one of 12 companies selected for Microsoft’s AI For Good 2020 Accelerator Programme.

Imagine, for example, you are exploring a city with a long maritime history, and you have the opportunity to use your phone to have a text-based conversation – via SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook messenger – with any one of the multitude of landmarks, sculptures and other street furniture that reflect its plans and its history. Instead of reading a few words on a bronze plaque, imagine using technology to dynamically engage instantly with the history of a place.

Let’s make those static plaques smart.

In Belfast, Hello Lamp Post has been added to the Maritime Mile quarter of the city, where visitors can now ‘chat’ with several historical sites including Titanic Belfast; HMS Caroline; SS Nomadic; The Great Light; and of course ‘The Big Fish’. Visitors can now have a self-propelled, self-curated experience of the area.

Citizens can learn about the area’s stories, ask questions about the area and understand how they can help shape its future. That’s the potential and power of the Hello Lamp Post system. It enables local authorities to connect instantly with citizens, and it empowers people to have a voice in local decision-making.

Depending on their chat conversation, citizens have opportunities to provide feedback, inform planning applications, learn about public sentiment, and have a say in the urban planning future. Tourists can be signposted to other historic, cultural and retail areas of interest, which can provide a boost to the local economy.

Insights drawn from visitor interactions have now allowed Belfast City Council improve visitor satisfaction, increase visitor engagement and develop attractions more attuned to specific interests and needs of individuals.

An example conversation with Hello Lamp Post

As local authorities push to open their cities and towns, now more than ever we need to deploy smart solutions that engage people in a meaningful way.

Example themes Hello Lamp Post can assist you with

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